A Film Noir
A. Jay Adler
The Story So Far
Jack Miles, rock n’ roll roadie, has returned home looking for a job. He encounters old friends and begins a new love with Evelyn “Sonny” Morales, a detective. Old friends, Kyle and Ray, propose to Jack that he help them rob his wealthy, but estranged, identical twin, Joseph. Jack turns them down, and instead goes to see Joseph to ask for a job. But Joseph humiliates Jack and they nearly come to blows. Enraged, Jack lures Joseph to him and kills him, making the murder appear his own accidental death. He then assumes Joseph’s identity and sets Kyle and Ray up in a botched attempt at the robbery. While Sonny investigates Jack’s death, Jack, as Joseph, discovers that Joseph and Crank Wilson were closeted lovers. As Sonny’s investigation continues to bring her and Jack together, Jack tries to adjust to the circumstances of his new life – but Crank is soon on to him and tries to blackmail Jack.
Now, Part 9:
Jack handles Crank. He and Sonny succumb to temptation.
EXT. CENTRAL VALLEY BANK – DAY
Jack walks with determination along the street. He enters the bank without pausing.
INT. CENTRAL VALLEY BANK
Jack enters and looks around. He spots Crank behind the teller windows, working with a TELLER. Jack walks to the window and stands off to the side of the line, where Crank will see him when he looks up.
Crank looks up and sees Jack staring at him. Crank walks out to join him. Jack waits, scanning the bank, sees the office that says “AUGUSTUS WILSON. VICE PRESIDENT.”
Crank reaches him.
We need to talk. In your office.
Crank studies Jack a moment, senses something.
I don’t think so.
I do think so.
Unless you’d like me to share with your customers what a COCKSUCKER you are.
Crank quickly glances around.
Right this way, Mr. Miles.
Crank leads Jack to his office, behind an arrangement of desks and BANKERS.
Crank closes the door behind them.
I’m funny this way. I sense disagreement with the plan I laid out for you.
Check your intuition. You’re only partly right.
Partly. I’ve been doing some thinking.
That’s proven to be dangerous where you’re concerned, Jack.
Yeah, it has been.
I mean for you.
That’s not the way I see it.
That’s not the way you see it?
No. It’s not the way I see it. You want me to tell you how I see it?
Oh, please, do, Jack. Tell me how you see it.
This is the way I see it, Crank. You want a big chunk of change quickly, right? Why take any chances.
Why take any chances.
You’re not going to get that.
You’re not. I give you a big chunk of change, you don’t need me anymore. I need to be needed. I’m funny that way. You’ll get ten thousand a month. I’ll leave just enough of my money here so you can do that — I am going to move my business — thanks for the idea — you figure out how to do it. Run it by me.
That’s not enough.
It’ll have to be. That way you don’t do anything stupid and low and crummy. You need me. See? Now that might piss you off right now, might tempt you to do something rash. Don’t. I’ll risk an investigation if I have to. You’ve got no evidence, and the DNA’s on my side. It would be a gamble. But I’ve been known to gamble before, haven’t I? And either way, you’d get nothing.
Crank is trumped, doesn’t like it.
Who the fuck do you think you are?
Jack heads for the door.
I don’t know who I am, Crank. Isn’t that obvious? But I feel like I’m starting to know. I feel like I’m coming into my own. It’s liberating.
Jack closes the door behind him.
EXT. SONNY’S HOUSE – NIGHT
Jack sits in his Jaguar, the lights off, across the street. He watches.
Then, through a window, he sees Sonny enter the kitchen. He watches her at the sink as she starts to wash some dishes.
Sonny pauses, hangs her head a moment. She turns off the faucet and leaves the kitchen. The light goes off.
INT. EL PUŃO CLUBHOUSE BAR – NIGHT
Seedy, sparse but clean.
TEN OR FIFTEEN CHICANO MEN AND WOMEN — some 20’s, vatos locos with baggy pants, long t-shirts and shaved heads, most 30’s, Eme types, longhaired, mustachioed, tattooed — sit at tables and the bar, drinking, talking, flirting.
CHICANO GROOVE plays from a SOUND SYSTEM behind the bar.
Billy Corbett enters.
Those at the bar see him first, turn and stare.
Slowly, so do those at the tables.
I’m looking for Garcia.
The young vato loco closest to Billy comes up in his face with slow, intimidating swagger.
Who is looking for Garcia?
The vato loco and Billy look in the direction of the voice. Other heads turn.
At the table farthest back, the EL PUŃO LEADER, 30’s, steely of expression and body, stares back between the heads around him.
EL PUŃO LEADER
Quièn, gringo? Hijo de la chingada.
Some TITTERING LAUGHTER.
The EL PUŃO LEADER looks immediately to his side as a HEAD between them and Billy moves out of the way. A young man with shaved head, GARCIA, nods at Billy.
Hey ese. Qué pasa?
INT. KORT MANSION – GAME ROOM – NIGHT
Jack drinks as he shoots pool alone, troubled. He studies the table, passes up some easy shots for a more difficult one. He makes it.
Jack lays down his stick and goes to the bar. He refills his glass, studies it. He studies the CORDLESS PHONE on the counter.
He walks to the window with his glass, gazes out at the orchards, then back at the phone. He walks to it and dials.
INT. SONNY’S HOUSE – NIGHT
On the living room sofa, Sonny has the phone to her ear. Slow JAZZ plays on her STEREO. On the coffee table in front of her are a DRINK and DECK OF CARDS laid out in a game of solitaire.
INT. KORT MANSION – GAME ROOM – NIGHT
Jack walks toward the window.
INTERCUT AS NEEDED
I wasn’t sure you’d be home.
I’m off Friday nights. It’s my party night.
I’ve been drinking a little.
Sonny reaches for her drink.
That’s not good for you, Joe.
Staring out at the groves.
Must be nice to have that to look at.
They’re so fixed, you know — in the earth. So there.
And I’ve been thinking about you. I don’t know, would it be strange — inappropriate — for me to want to see you?
I don’t know.
I mean, of course, if you wanted to see me, too.
I guess that’s the question, isn’t it? If you would like to see me, too.
Jack is unsure in the long silence what Sonny has said yes to. Sonny struggles with herself.
I would like to see you.
INT. KORT MANSION – INFORMAL LIVING ROOM – NIGHT
Sonny stands before the fireplace.
Jack comes to her with drinks in his hand. They sip, stand and look at each other uncomfortably for a moment. Then Jack takes the POKER and stirs the fire. The fire blazes up. Sonny is momentarily startled.
A lot. Why don’t you sit?
Sonny bypasses the sofa in front of the fireplace, sits instead in a Queen Anne armchair beside a light table against the wall.
Jack stares at her.
I read once about the original Siamese twins, Chang and Eng — the ones the name comes from. They ended up as farmers in Virginia. You believe that? They married a pair of sisters.
Don’t even go there.
They owned and worked two adjacent farms together. One week Chang’s farm, the other Eng’s. I always wondered about that. Why two farms? I read that they played a kind of game with each other — not a game, I guess. They would take turns entering into a kind of dream state, so that each could have his own will for a while. A way of pretending to be separate people, I guess.
You and Jack weren’t Siamese twins.
You mean we weren’t physically connected?
Let’s not talk about it.
We have to. Don’t we?
Sonny thinks, takes a long drink.
Do you believe in second chances?
I don’t know what that means. Sometimes you get them. Sometimes you don’t. Some people get them. Some don’t.
Once, when we were about 12, we both went away to a summer camp, something the school sponsored — our parents couldn’t have afforded it. We were already playing guitar, and there was a competition. I came in first, Jack second. They gave us certificates, but they printed the names with only the first initial — J. Miles. Somehow, when we got home, Jack had the first place certificate, even though I had won. At least I think I won. I think he came in second.
Jack walks toward her.
I can’t stop thinking about you.
When you look at me, who do you see?
I don’t know.
I want you to see me. See me, Sonny.
Jack stops in front of her. The light from the table lamp glows warmly on her face.
Jack reaches out, lifts the hair from one side of Sonny’s face, caresses her cheek.
You’re so strong. But you’re so tender underneath. And nobody knows that.
Jack’s hand comes around her face, lifts the hair from the other cheek.
And you’re so beautiful. I’ve never seen anyone so beautiful.
Sonny is powerless before the seduction as Jack’s hand travels down her neck.
His hand travels across the skin of her chest, above the button of her blouse.
Their eyes lock.
Jack loosens the button. Sonny’s chest heaves.
Jack reaches his arm around her, half lifting her — she half rising — into his arms as they kiss with slow passion.
Jack and Sonny kiss deeply and hard. Jack pulls away, at arm’s length, but Sonny catches his hand, tugs back. Jack pulls her to him. They kiss again.
FOYER – FURTHER ALONG
Jack and Sonny kiss deeply and hard. Sonny pulls away, at arm’s length, but Jack catches her hand, tugs back. Sonny pulls him to her. They kiss again.
FOYER – FOOT OF THE GRAND STAIRCASE
Jack and Sonny kiss deeply and hard. Jack pulls away, starting up the stairs, but Sonny lets his arm go. Jack stops, looks down at her.
He extends his hand. Sonny reaches for it, follows him up the stairs.
Naked on the bed, Jack lowers himself over Sonny. They kiss and touch with the wonder of an experience both thought they would never have again.
On SONNY’S FACE: both a dream come true and something she doesn’t understand.
They both cry out with the passion of their release.
BEDROOM – MORNING
Daylight streaming in. Jack is asleep in bed. Sonny is awake beside him, her eyes wide with horror.
Sonny enters buttoning her blouse, now dressed. She glances at herself in the mirror, quickly brushes her hair.
Sonny exits the bathroom, on her way out of the bedroom.
Jack sits at the edge of the bed, puzzled.
I have to go.
She starts out of the room.
He goes to intercept her.
I have a lot to do.
Jack takes her arm.
I just have be somewhere.
She turns away, heads toward the stairs.
Sonny, please don’t —
Though the door he sees her descend the stairs quickly.
I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
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